Are domestic partners included in usaa’s eligibility for auto insurance?
UPDATED: Jul 15, 2015
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Asked July 15, 2015
There has been a great deal of confusion over the past several about whether United Services Auto Association (USAA), which offers insurance to current and former members of the United States military and their families, covers domestic partners. Couples in same-sex relationships have been especially interested in this answer after stories emerged of USAA discriminating against both married and domestic partnerships same-sex couples on more than one occasion. The simple answer to this question is that USAA currently does offer auto insurance coverage to the domestic partners of members and employees. A member must claim the partner and the partner must live at the same address as the member. If the member passes away, the domestic partner continues to receive coverage. The complex answer is that you might come across a customer service representative who does not know this fact or discriminates if you are in a same-sex relationship.
In 2011, a former USAA employee from Massachusetts, Jason Cabot, started a Change.org petition to force USAA to recognize the same-sex spouses and domestic partners of service men and women after he heard numerous accounts of discrimination. Supporters of his petition soon supplied him with additional proof: They gave him detailed stories of how USAA discriminated against them. Although USAA claimed in 2012 that same-sex spouses, at least, were eligible for coverage, problems with getting coverage for spouses and partners continued long after the announcement.
Finally, on April 2, 2013, a USAA representative explained on Cabot's Facebook page that USAA fully recognized same-sex domestic partners and that USAA would also continue coverage for legal spouses and domestic partners even if the couple moved to a state where their relationship status was not recognized. Yet, new cases emerged and the issue continued to go unresolved until January 2014 when USAA settled with the state of Massachusetts over the matter and the Attorney General, Martha Coakley, announced that the company would supply equal membership, insurance coverage and benefits. The company also had to pay a $50,000 penalty to the state.
The matter seemed resolved, but, by April 2014, members were still complaining of problems: One member anonymously wrote in an online comment that he/she had continued to deal with discrimination when trying to add a domestic partner to a policy. Specifically, as the member recounted, several customer service representatives implied that coverage for a same-sex partner only extended to a legally recognized spouse. This reply was strange considering that almost a year to the date before the member's comment a domestic partner in a same-sex relationship stated in a separate comment online that a USAA agent actually encouraged the addition of his name to his partner's policy. The only part of the policy that did not exist at the time was any sort of continued coverage after the member's death.
Again, USAA's official stance is that domestic partners are eligible for all of the same products designed for members. Needless to say, if you have any difficulty with adding a domestic partner to your USAA auto insurance policy, ask immediately to speak with the supervisor of the customer service representative or agent who refuses to assist you.
Answered July 16, 2015 by Anonymous